May 18, 2005

Tap-dancing at the White House.

From today's White House press briefing by Scott McClellan:

Q: Scott, you just mentioned that our enemies are looking for any material that they can find to damage us or our reputation. Isn't it the case that the Newsweek article would not have done the damage that it has if our reputation hadn't already been damaged by the atrocities at Abu Ghraib?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you actually bring up a very important point. Abu Ghraib and the individuals that did things that were contrary to our military procedures and contrary to our values did do damage to the image of the United States abroad. And that's why we have worked to make sure that people know that we take such matters very seriously. People are being held to account. They're going to jail for what they did at Abu Ghraib, because it went against everything we stand for, and it was against our laws, as well.

We're also -- we also have taken a number of steps to prevent something like that from ever happening again. When a problem like that arises, the United States deals with it, and deals with it swiftly and takes steps to prevent it from happening again. With the material in the Newsweek report, obviously, as everybody saw, was used to incite violence. It was additional material that people opposed to the United States took and used to incite violence and it had some serious consequences.

I think the American people are outraged about the report, to learn that it turned out to be wrong. And we share in that outrage. And that's why it's important to work to repair the damage that has been done by that report.

Q: Can you assure us that there have been no instances of desecration of the Koran?

MR. McCLELLAN: The Department of Defense actually addressed that yesterday, and I talked about it, as well.

Q: You can assure us of that, there are no cases?

MR. McCLELLAN: You ought to talk to the Department of Defense. They talked about it yesterday. They have found nothing to substantiate any such allegation that was made by the Newsweek report. And Newsweek, itself, retracted the report because they realized it was wrong.

In case you didn't catch what McClellan said, here's a translation:

Of course the Koran has been desecrated. Why do you think we came down so hard on Newsweek? If we don't thoroughly intimidate them, someone else will do a story on a desecration incident and provide airtight documentation. Do you have any idea of the problems that would cause this administration?

This magpie especially wants to call your attention the way that McClellan kept giving his answer in terms of the allegation made by Newsweek, totally ignoring the fact that his questioner wanted to know if any allegations of Koran descecration were true. If McClellan weren't such a liar, we'd be impressed by his skill.

Posted by Magpie at May 18, 2005 02:22 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |

That is what's been missing from gaggle reporting: ACCURATE TRANSLATIONS. Magpie, you've just come up with a brilliant idea for a repeat feature - and if you don't want to do it, we really ought to find someone who does! Too much fun!

Posted by: CaliforniaDrySherry at May 18, 2005 06:10 PM

You see, no one in the Department of Defense actually wrote down that they flushed a Koran down the toilet, so for Newsweek to say that they wrote it down is the problem. It says a lot when this administration seems to care so little about their ability to win the war on terror in comparison to their ability to cover their tracks as they lose it. Failure is fine, as long as you can blame it on someone else.

Posted by: thehim at May 18, 2005 08:17 PM